Often, grandparents have a close relationship with their grandchildren. However, that can change within the blink of an eye in the event of a parent’s death or divorce. In some cases, grandparents are restricted from spending time with their grandchildren. When this happens, grandparents often wonder whether they have visitation rights. Keep reading to learn whether grandparents can request court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren in New Jersey. In addition, contact our proficient Monmouth County Child Visitation Attorneys, who can help protect your rights.
Do grandparents have visitation rights in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, as a grandparent, you have a legal right to request reasonable visitation with your grandchildren at any time. Grandparents play a vital role in their grandchildren’s lives as they are often considered role models. They help children learn and grow and provide emotional support, which is why the court recognizes grandparents have a right to request reasonable visitation. However, not every grandparent can be a positive role model to their grandchildren, which is why the court will only award grandparent visitation if it is in the children’s best interests. The court will consider the following factors when determining the best interests of a child:
- Your relationship with your grandchildren
- Your relationship with your grandchildren’s parents
- Your reasoning for requesting the visits
- The length of time since you’ve communicated with your grandchildren
- The impact on the child’s relationship with their parents if visitation were granted
- The parent’s visitation arrangement (if divorced)
- Any other relevant factors regarding the child’s best interests
Alongside evaluating whether giving visitation to a grandparent would be in a child’s best interests, you must fulfill the burden of proof. Grandparents must prove that the child’s overall well-being would be negatively impacted if denied visitation. It is critical to note that when a grandchild is adopted by someone other than a stepparent, a grandparent’s rights to visitation are not diminished. The court will consider awarding visitation to biological grandparents as long as it is in the child’s best interests, regardless of whether they are adopted.
To begin the process, you must file a petition. In your written request, you must include your proposed schedule for court-ordered time and a description of your relationship with your grandchildren. If you believe you have been unfairly denied visitation, you must explain the parent’s interference with your efforts to establish or maintain a relationship with your grandchildren. From here, you need to notify the child’s parents and any other parties involved.
If you seek visitation as a grandparent, contact a trusted Monmouth County child visitation attorney from Paone Zaleski & Murphy today. Our firm is prepared to fight to help you obtain court-ordered visitation time with your grandchildren. Allow our firm to represent your interests.